Negotiation 101

I found this article referenced at SF Curbed.  I like the article because it shows two things-the market is getting better.  Rentals are not being negotiated as drastically as they were last year AND practice the golden rule in negotiation.  When you think you are doing yourself favors by pushing hard, you may get more (or less) than you want.

‘Smart Money’ article

Fire safety-how safe are your smoke detectors?

This fire safety article ran in the San Francisco Chronicle last week regarding smoke detector safety.  It’s the first time I had ever heard about the difference in how ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors operate.

According to the article, the ionization smoke detectors, which are more commonly used, trip more often when they are not supposed to, and don’t go off as soon as they should when they need to.

I just looked at the back of my smoke detector, and sure enough, it’s an ionization model.  The issue seems to be the type of fire each responds to in an alarm.

Raising Alarm for Fire Safety-San Francisco Chronicle

Here’s an article from the National Fire Protection Association

Fire Safety Council review on best sensor type for kitchens (pdf format)

Earthquake insurance for your condo?

Getting earthquake insurance for your condo?  That’s the dilema for many condo owners.  Most (in San Francisco at least) home owners associations do not have earthquake insurance covering the condo common areas and buildings because it’s expensive, which would reflect itself in higher monthly home owners association fees.  I have had clients in the past who, at least initially, refused to look at condo buildings that did not have earthquake insurance-unfortunately, that limits the pool of available buildings.  In the end, you can 1) accept the buildings there are with earthquake insurance; 2) not buy a condo; 3) buy in a newer construction building up to current code and hope for the best; or 4) get over it and take a chance.  The following article was written in May of 2010, but it’s timeless in it’s message-I’ve had this same conversation with clients since I got into real estate in the mid-90’s.

Condo owners on shaky ground-San Francisco Chronicle

Loan Modification Considerations

This is an older article I’ve had saved from the San Francisco Chronicle-but still very timely.

With the economy still on the long, slow road in recovery (I wonder if there is a 12 step program for this?), many homeowners are still considering their options when it comes to loan modifications, short sales and foreclosures.  The SF Chronicle article reiterates the need to be cautious and ask lots of questions as it relates to loan modification considerations.

Of course the double whammy is that by the time you get to the point where you have to make the decision, there isn’t much money to pay professionals to ask questions.  Unfortunately, that’s exactly what you need to do.  Certainly, talk to your accountant, a real estate attorney, your favorite mortgage broker and your real estate agent to get a sense of what questions each of them would ask, your future goals and how a modification may fit into that plan.  Before you spend $1,500-2,000 for someone claiming they can do a modification for you, talk to all the folks I listed above.  For under $1,000, you should get all the info you need to proceed.

Loan changes can hurt your credit score-SF Chronicle

Proposed bill to limit seller financed real estate deals

This article happens to be from the Orlando Business Journal, but it does talk about a Federal bill that would limit seller financed real estate deals.  I find this particularly disturbing, as not the feds are getting involved in making sellers banks that are being regulated.  Given the economy and the difficulty of some buyers getting financing, seller financing may be the only option.

Bill to limit seller financed real estate deals-Orlando Business Journal

Estate Planning for blended families

Here’s an interesting article that outlines some great considerations for estate planning for blended families.  Knowing how difficult it was for me to do my own, careful consideration, time and a great estate attorney are a must for sorting out the best strategy in your estate plan.  The potential for hurt feelings for those left behind are perhaps more important than the taxes.

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